The Oficial Website Of Tree Records
HAYSTACK were a Trio from Masterton, a rural service Town located near the bottom of the North Island of New Zealand. In just three years they took out all the 'prizes' on the New Zealand Music Scene and created a new genre of Country Rock called "Progressive".
Their amazing journey started when they decided to form a group and decided on the name 4 Wheel Drive, only to change their minds shortly afterwards and settle for "Haystack" instead.
First they won the 1975 Edition of TVNZ - TV-1's talent show "The Entertainers". Then in 1976 they cleaned up the Radio NZ's
"Rock Quest" Nationwide talent show. In 1977 they recorded their only Album for Tree Records.
Stranger than fiction, the truth of their Recording deal came about when Dene Kellaway walked into the record shop Neil
The original cover photo was
taken by top Fashion Photographer
Original Album was on vinyl,
Cat. # TRLP 4
Now in Digital format, Cat. #TCD 4037
The single Album that gave birth to a new brand of C&W -"Progressive Country Rock". This happened by accident and was not a 'planned' idea hatched by Charlie Harter.
Merilyn Harter, Charlie Harter and friend Neil Frances (back) were the basic group Haystack.
worked in, to sell Sylvia Bonallack's classic guitar Albums. After he had presented the Albums to Neil, he was asked if he recorded non-classical material and, if so, would he be prepared to listen to a Demo Cassette. Dene said 'yes' and 'yes' and walked out of the store with the cassette tape Neil presented to him.
"Nigel" was the first song on the Demo and Dene was touched by it's simplicity and sincere message and so a deal was struck. A drummer was hired and the near new EMI Studios in Lower Hutt, complete with 32 track Recorder, was hired.
Session one, a total of 4 hours work, had to be scrapped when it was discovered by Merilyn that the tempo was too fast. Tom Thumb's drummer, Tom Swainson 'clicked' with Haystack right away and proved to be the right choice for this low budget Album.
All went well till the fouth session. When they all arrived, a Synthesizer was sitting in the main Studio. Charles asked who's it was and Frank Douglas said it was EMI's and it could be hired. Dene agreed to let Charlie use it and the Album took on not only a life of it's own, but expanded the budget to a major production.
Over the weeks it took to record, people started popping in to add a bit of this and a dab of that till the Album decided it was complete and finished. Apart from Merilyn doing most of the vocals, Charlie's sister contributed the vocals for "Let There Be Time" and friend Phillipa Christensen helped with backing vocals. Nobody could argue that there was a thing on the recording that should not be there, or anything missing. It was done.
TREE-17 "Bright Boy" c/w "Ebenezer" 7" vinyl Single
TRLP-4 "As We Appear" 12" vinyl Album (LP)
TCD 4034 "Kiwi Made Music" Vol.2 (Comp. CD)
TCD 4037 "As We Appear" Digital mp3 Files & CD
Without a doubt this Album was a Charlie Harter creation. He wrote most of the songs, played many instruments including dubbing guitars so he could change the guitar sound within a single track and scored all the arrangements. Clearly the Album is a story with a subtle message, very cleverly told as each song touched on another page of the story.
His abilities are obvious and his craftmanship undeniable. Neil's slightly more British Beat feel added depth to the canvas but it was Charlie who put it all together so well.
Charlie was a school teacher back in 1977 when this Album was made, specialising in Maths and Music. Today he is in a Band called "Highly Unlikely" and has an Album
featured on Acoustica 18 and distribured by 272 Records in Hollywood, USA.
Merilyn is the story teller and nobody could do a better job. Her voice soothes the brow as she tells the story of a young girls journey to womanhood, motherhood and beyond.
An added bonus to this Album's magic has to be the fact she was in her 8th month of carrying their first child, something that added a special 'glow' about the whole performance not to mention her endurance during the whole lengthy process of capturing it all on magnetic tape. Her background in design included two years at a Polytech studying textiles and clothing which also came in handy for the choice of typeface to be used for the Cover.
Neil Frances was the solid rock on which it was built. His perfect timing as their percussionist, his well crafted songs that added depth to the Album and his quiet, in the background, solid work added much of value to the finished product. He started playing bass when he was just 18 and wanted to see NZ Artists develop a distinctive recording 'sound'. He was also a keen Fairport Convention fan as well..
A limit of just 200
units were pressed
to gain Air Time
on NZ Radio Stations to promote
the full Album.
The original LP was
issued with a 1.5 page song sheet with the lyrics of every song on the Album. The Owl drawing was done by Dene Kellaway and was part of the Tree 'tradition' back then. Everyone wanted one of Dene's pen & ink drawings on their Album Covers
Key Links To HAYSTACK's
* New iTunes Link To Haystack HERE
"As We Appear" was Produced by Dene Kellaway, engineered by Frank Douglas and recorded at EMI (NZ) Studios in Lower Hutt,
New Zealand in 1977.
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EVERY SONG ON "As We Appear" IS NOW ON
TREE RECORDS TOP 70 DIGITAL SALES CHART
Levy Music Publishing, LLC of America, has become the Publisher for
6 songs written by Neil Frances and Charles Harter. - November 2009.
* Tree Records' Other Website HERE
Haystack are a New Zealand group from the 70's